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The Hidden Story Of Jesus part 3/7

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One of London's most famous Landmarks, Saint Paul's Cathedral, is dedicated to Christianity's first theologian and, after Jesus himself, arguably its true founder: The apostle Paul. It was Paul who first took Christianity out of its jewish-palestinian setting and transformed it into a world beat-up*. It was Paul and his followers who created much of the Christianity we know today. a religion of salvation by faith in Jesus, a preexistent divine being sent to Earth by God to save us all from our sins. Much of the dogma that surrounds Jesus was created by Paul. Paul describes himself as the apostle to the gentiles, or as we know them today, pagans. Paul was supremely practical in terms of converting non-believers. And he even admits in his letter to the Corinthians: "I have become all things to all people that I'm a window to Christ." What he meant by that was that the was willing to adapt and adjust himself to ever circumstances he found himself. And if that meant a little bit of borrowing from pagan religion, then so be it. My search for the hidden Jesus has now brought me to the north of England, to the border of the Roman Empire: Hadrian's wall. When Jesus first appeared 2000 year ago, he was born into a world full of pagan gods. And if he was to survive he would need to compete on that term. And this could mean reworking some of the best ideas that had already existed for thousands of years. Just after the Second World War, there was an incredible series of archaeological discoveries in the UK. That revealed a network of roman temples from London in the south to Hadrian's wall in the north. They were dedicated to a pagan religion that existed at the same time as Christianity and to a God who had striking similarities to Jesus: Mithras! Lindsay Allason-Jones is the director of the Museum of Antiquities at the University of New Castle. And an expert in the mystery cult of Mithras. Oh wow, this looks really well preserved! It is! Now what can I expect to see if it was in its original condition? You're probably wouldn't see very much at all because it was sunk right down. The worshipers of Mithras were trying to reconstruct in the sense the original cave of Mithras. They wanted to dig deep, they wanted to dig in the subterranean. It's what they've been doing. You would've been coming through here You've been coming though here into the actual temple itself. And you see in front of you the three altars there. and behind that would be a large relief showing Mithras killing the primeval bull. What was the act of creation for the worshipers of Mithras. May he bring us help, may he bring us comfort, may he bring us joy, He the over and over powering, wordy of sacrifice and prayer: Mithras the lord of wide pastures. Mithras is a god to the good side I presume, the light! Yes, Mithras was the lord of light, that was, he was basically attached to the Sun God, who ordered Mithras to go and kill the primeval bull to release life force to the benefit of mankind. That's an interesting symbolism there, you've got this powerful deity and this kind of sub deity who acts as a kind of savior figure for humankind. The rise of Mithras almost exactly parallels the rise of Jesus. although his origins could be much more ancient. Some say he was created by the Romans, others, that he came from Persia and India. Mithras was seen as a savior God he was unusual amongst the gods. He went really trying to bribe people in quite the same way you try to bribe to the other deities to make sure your life on Earth was as comfortable as possible. And Mithras was where enacting* actually offered you a life after death. So if Mithras predated Jesus and he's also a Savior God who offered his followers a life after death, did Christianity steal these ideas? It was a mystery cult and we certainly know the pagan having mutual meals. It seems to me a fairy basic feast, based large on the chickens, on bread and on wine. Bread and wine? Bread and wine, yes! Indeed it has got similarities with early Christianity, the sense of feasting the sense of discipline, you don't have to piece a deity you work at things for your own good, there's a deity who is a God of Light who was sent by a major deity to kill his nemesis in order to redeem and save the world. Yes, the early Christian fathers who worked a lot, were very upset about Mithraism, they thought the Mithraism was parodying Christianity! This so infuriated many early Christians that they found that they had to publicly denounce Mithras and his worshipers. One 4th century Christian writer, Ambrosiaster, tried to demonize their secret rituals. What travesty is it then that they enact in the cave with veiled faces? For they cover their eyes lest their deeds of shame should revolt them. Some like birds flap their wings imitating the raven's cry; others roar like lions; others bind their hands with the entrails of fowls and fling themselves down over pits full of water, What shameful mockeries for men who call themselves wise. Another early church father, Justin Martyr, tried to claim it was Mithras who was copying Jesus: Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras. The problem for Christians was that the similarities did not stop there! One tradition claims Mithras even had a virgin birth! Mithras... There are two stories; one that he was born from a living rock, and the other that he was born from a cosmic egg. So that is potentially a crossing of ideas, leading potentially a merging of ideas between Mithras and early Christianity, potentially! There's even a story that Mithras' birth was witnessed by shepherds watching their sheep. But that again is a much later story and we don't know whether at this point Christianity and Mithraism one getting other intertwined, it's getting confused! Mithras was a pagan god with a story, a purpose and elements of ritual very similar to that of Jesus. But one whose origins can predate him by thousands of years. But the fact is that Mithraism failed to survive and was Christianity that conquered the Roman Empire. But we do know that early Christian fathers were very worried about the similarities between Christianity and Mithraism specially the charge that Christianity borrowed many of its ideas from this pagan cult. So when paganism was officially outlawed particular animosity was showed towards Mithraism. Many of its temples were destroyed and others had churches built on top of them. But Mithraism deeply own mark* on Christianity. When later church fathers were deciding what anniversary to celebrate the birthday of Jesus They chose December 25th, the winter solstice, which also happens to be the birthday of Mithras! I have been told that there was another place one of the key locations for early Christianity where the similarities between Jesus and other pagan gods are even more obvious: Egypt! Christianity came very early to Egypt. One tradition claims it arrived just thirty years after Jesus' Death. It has also always puzzled scholars why Christianity took hold so easily here. One theory claims it was because of its many parallels with ancient Egyptian religious ideas and rituals. Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mojsov is an expert in the ancient cult of Osiris Bojana, Pleased to meet you! Are we going inside? Sure! She claims it has uncanning similarities to Christianity and the story of Jesus! I'm here in Abydos in upper Egypt at the 3300 years old temple dedicated to the cult of Osiris! Can you tell me what happened here? Well once ah... There was a festival of Osiris and the myth of Osiris is the most ancient myth of Egypt. The festival lasted for about a week and reached its culmination on the last 3 days. And on the first of those 3 days the earth body of Osiris would be buried during the second day, vigils in the temple were set for the gods resurrection And on the morning of the third day the statues brought out into the court through here, and all the pilgrims who have guarded from all over Egypt celebrated the resurrection of Osiris. How come was that kind of story because for me the obvious story of death and resurrection of a deity emerges with Christianity so was common for people to think that way? well in the Nile valley it was, and in the Ancient Near East it also have the myths of the sacrificed savior gods who died for the people and were resurrected came back to life, and would lead all righteous souls to salvation and eternal life. What I would see if I was here three thousand or four thousand years ago? During the festival on that night when they buried Osiris, Lights were lit, candles were lit all over Egypt to commemorate his burial So if you imagine the temple just full of light, full of incense, people caring candles and praying for the God's resurrection, the mystery of it. Chanting prayers for his resurrection if you imagine incense, candle light, vigils It would be magical! Many similar rituals are still carried on today by the Egyptian Coptic church. Which of the elements within this passion play within this myth have parallels with Christianity? Well baptism in the holy river, in the Nile, which is considered to be a sacred river The sacred Nile water which was carried into the temple and the statues were anointed with it. The eating of corn bread as the body of Osiris, because corn came about through the sacrifice of Osiris. So this whole eating of bread And drinking of beer that issued from the risen god is also paralleled by the Eucharist mass in Christianity. So the corn bread and the beer are parallel today by having the bread and the wine! Exactly! But it was thousand years ago! There's a very interesting image in that last room and it consists of the dead Osiris as a mommy placed on a lion bed, his wife Isis hovers over him like a kite, like a bird and at this moment they're engendering the savior child. So it is a... the moment that that's a... life is being transferred from death to life, from father to son. So it's all like a miraculous birth. It's a miraculous birth of the savior child. These ideas we find in the Christian story of Jesus. Did Christianity just steal these ideas from this Egyptian myth? Well, I wouldn't go that far, I think that Christianity had its own message a new message, a new philosophy to offer. It simply borrowed these ideas to explain its own message more clearly To each vast amount of people and this is possibly the secret why it spread in Egypt so quickly. So, and Paul says "I'm become all things to all people that I'm a window to Christ" This was an example of the happening whether they were using the stories to help explain the Christian story. Yes, I think that is probably right! This is a major revelation because it seems to me you're suggesting that the idea of a savior god who redeems the world doesn't just begin with modern Europe doesn't even begin with ancient Near East it goes all the way back to the earliest forms of human experiences out to Africa! Absolutely! It does! While it may be easy for some Christians to reject any similarities between Jesus and ancient Indian Gods thousands of miles away, the roman God Mithras and the ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris are just too close to home to be dismissed so easily. But what about the historical Jesus? The one who lived and died in roman Palestine? If you strip away all the Christian dogma around Jesus, the theology created by Paul and his followers, what are we left with? Jesus the Jew! In the next part, we see how Jews have a very different story about Jesus And how some orthodox Jews even see him as their enemy! P.S.: I'm not sure of the accuracy of the transcription in all the words marked with * Email me for any corrections, thank you! [email protected]

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: ABC TV Religion and Ethics production unit
Director: David Batty
Views: 402
Posted by: tengrylethos on Feb 26, 2011

Aired: December 25, 2007 on Channel 4 Duration: 1:40:53 Info: Theologian Dr Robert Beckford investigates amazing parallels to the Christ story in other faiths, some of them predating Christianity by thousands of years. The Hindu god, Krishna, was conceived by a virgin and his birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds. Buddha was also the result of a miraculous birth and visited by wise men bearing gifts. Beckford attempts to unravel the mystery of why there are so many versions of the Christ story across the world and asks which is the real one.

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